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Hidden Talent TV Show: zero to Arabic

 Language Learning Forum : Music, Movies, TV & Radio Post Reply
Joined 3697 days ago

54 posts - 87 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 Message 1 of 3
10 February 2015 at 12:03am | IP Logged 
Arabic from Scratch on Channel 4 (UK)

The link above may not work outside the UK (or without VPN tunnelling for that matter) but I remember watching it last year.
They take a random group of self-selected people who have no foreign language experience and pick one to mentor and teach from
the ground up in as little time as possible.

There's the usual fake-drama and personal back-stories typical of shows like this, but I was interested in it for the methods,
results, and time-frames involved. I'm curious what the more experienced language learners make of his efforts? They don't
really give you a sense of how much he studied on his own but I think he mentions 2-4 hours outside his full day of one-on-one
tutoring in the classroom and in the streets.

I haven't seen anything like this before on TV so I thought I'd share.

Edited by epictetus on 10 February 2015 at 12:05am

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 5626 days ago

351 posts - 590 votes 
Speaks: English*, Arabic (Written), Arabic (Egyptian)
Studies: Arabic (classical)

 Message 2 of 3
10 February 2015 at 11:46am | IP Logged 
Despite all the praise lavished on him at the end, his Arabic is not at all well-accented, really basic,
and pretty full of errors. I imagine most people on this site could get to that level in a similar
1 person has voted this message useful

Bilingual Heptaglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 6949 days ago

221 posts - 294 votes 
1 sounds
Speaks: English*, German*, Spanish, Arabic (Written), Dutch, French, Arabic (classical)
Studies: Mandarin, Persian

 Message 3 of 3
11 February 2015 at 10:37am | IP Logged 
When the show was first aired in 2012, I wrote a review on my blog. I believe the guy did OK during his interview on that Jordanian breakfast show, being able to answer relatively straight forward questions.

My main point though was that neither the learning speed nor achievements within that time frame constituted a "hidden talent":

"My gripe with the programme is that they made it seem as though the guy who was selected was somehow unusually talented in learning a foreign language.

But I have met many individuals who were able to reach his level in Arabic after a few months of intensive training.

It is not unusual to reach a good level of fluency after five months of doing nothing but learning the language.

And while the chap did pretty well, I want to emphasise that the programme merely showed that generally anyone can do it with the right dedication and the right environment."

Edited by Al-Malik on 11 February 2015 at 10:38am

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